Homeboy Sandman-Kindness For Weakness (2016)

My Rating: 86% (B++)

Pitchfork Rating: 67%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 77%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Heart Sings
  2. Eyes
  3. Real New York (feat. I Am Many)
  4. Seam by Seam (feat. Until The Ribbon Breaks)
  5. It’s Cold (feat. Steve Arrington)
  6. Talking (Bleep)
  7. Gumshoe
  8. Keep it Real (feat. Mystro)
  9. Earth, Wind, Fire (feat. yU, Tah Phrum Duh Bush & Shad)
  10. Funhouse
  11. Sly Fox
  12. God
  13. Nonbelievers
  14. Speak Truth (feat. Kurious, Breeze Brewin & Aesop Rock)

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for some great hip-hop similar to Aesop Rock’s style.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Yeah, it’s not great, but it’s not awful either.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yes!

Final Thoughts:

I first heard of Homeboy Sandman through his song Not Really, I played it a lot and was impressed by his really laid back flow. I then saw him live with Aesop Rock and loved his show. Kindness For Weakness is a surprisingly solid album, I usually find with rappers like Homeboy their albums can be really hit and miss from track to track, I kind of expected to pick and choose with this album, but I ended up really finding myself invested in the album as a whole. From his well known slow style, to really fast rapping, to catchy courses, Kindness For Weakness may just be the perfect spot to start when investigating the Sandman.

Advertisements

J. Cole-4 Your Eyez Only (2016)

My Rating: 45% (D-)

Pitchfork Rating: 67%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 75%

Average Rating: 62%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. For Whom the Bell Tolls
  2. Immortal
  3. Deja Vu
  4. Ville Mentality
  5. She’s Mine, Pt. 1
  6. Change
  7. Neighbors
  8. Foldin Clothes
  9. She’s Mine, Pt. 2
  10. 4 Your Eyez Only

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for a rap album that’s more R&B than actual rap.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

I actually love this album cover, it really fits the concept.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not in the least.

Final Thoughts:

J. Cole caught my attention from his flow on the song My Nigga Just Made Bail by Bas, I was totally on board with his crew after that style. Unfortunately I’m not sure he has quite delivered an album that has lived up to my expectations from that verse. 4 Your Eyez Only fails to be a Hip-Hop album, it’s just not. There’s very little rapping on it and it’s mostly repetitive R&B. When he finally gets around to rapping, I was already somewhat pissed at what he made me sit through that it’s just too little too late. The title track 4 Your Eyez Only, coming in at just under 9 minutes, is the jewel that you have to wait to the very end to hear. Most would’ve given up but I’m glad I stuck it out for it. I usually have a hard time listening to songs that pass the 5 minute mark, but this track remains entertaining throughout its entire play. Putting the best track at the end is typical J. Cole bullshit, now I have to get into the next album he releases hopping that he will release an album like the finally song, there’s still hope for Cole, but damn dude this album was really rough.

Allah-Las-Calico Review (2016)

My Rating: 88% (A-)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 69%

Average Rating: 79%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Strange Heat
  2. Satisfied
  3. Could Be You
  4. High And Dry
  5. Mausoleum
  6. Roadside Memorial
  7. Autumn Dawn
  8. Famous Phone Figure
  9. 200 South La Brea
  10. Warmed Kippers
  11. Terra Ignota
  12. Place In The Sun

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Driving down a highway.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Does next to nothing for me.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not really.

Final Thoughts:

Allah-Las is consistent, nothing ground breaking here, but consistent. Calico Review offers an album that is easy to listen to while doing mundane tasks or just staring at the roof and thinking things few, the biggest thing they’ve got going for them is just how unobtrusive their music is. It’s not something that demands the spotlight, nor does it really want it. It’s great music that you can put on at pretty much any get together without any objection. They are like the more laid back version of Woods. Calico Review is not going to be on the top of many lists, but I don’t think it’s a bad album by any stretch of the imagination, it’s a humble listen for humble moments in your life.

Woods-City Sun Eater In The River Of Light (2016)

My Rating: 95% (A+)

Pitchfork Rating: 76%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 79%

Average Rating: 83%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Can’t See at All
  2. Creature Comfort
  3. Hang It On Your Wall
  4. Hollow Home
  5. I See in the Dark
  6. Morning Light
  7. The Other Side
  8. Politics Of Free
  9. Sun City Creeps
  10. The Take

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for an alt album to jive to.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Fits their style but I’m not the biggest fan of it.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yes!

Final Thoughts:

Woods was a part of a large collective of groups that I discovered around the same time, there was an article with the best alt bands of the year I studied meticulously and came out with a few gems, other bands included in said list were: Grouplove, Gotye, Bombay Bicycle Club, and Arctic Monkeys. Woods stands out from the list by their unique sound, as if you’ve been transported to a dystopian New Mexico and have only the gun on your side and the clothes on your back. Woods shines in not sticking to the traditional sound, while not trying anything overly experimental either. City Sun Eater In The River Of Light flows nicely from track to track without begging for too much attention, it’s a chill album to listen to while trying to scrounge up food while keeping an eye out for our future robot overlords.

De La Soul-And The Anonymous Nobody… (2016)

My Rating: 68 (C-)

Pitchfork Rating: 64%

Rolling Stone Rating: 70%

Metacritic Rating: 77%

Average Rating: 70%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Genesis Feat. Jill Scott
  2. Royalty Capes
  3. Pain Feat. Snoop Dogg
  4. Property of Spitkicker.com Feat. Roc Marciano
  5. Memory of… (US) Feat. Estelle And Pete Rock
  6. CBGBS
  7. Lord Intended Feat. Justin Hawkins
  8. Snoopies feat. David Byrne
  9. Greyhounds Feat. Usher
  10. Sexy Bitch
  11. Trainwreck
  12. Drawn Feat. Little Dragon
  13. Whoodeeni Feat. 2chainz
  14. Nosed Up
  15. You Go Dave (A Goldblatt Presentation) Feat. David Goldblatt
  16. Here in After Feat. Damon Albarn
  17. Exodus

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for some chill Hip Hop

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Hilarious, big fan of the style.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not really.

Final Thoughts:

De La Soul is back and the result is chill if not underwhelming. The crowd funded album is as cool as a cucumber, but a little too cool if you ask my humble opinion. And The Anonymous Nobody… feels like it’s building up to something big (see Feel Good Inc. style rapping) but it doesn’t develop it just remains incredibly laid back. Nothing wrong with keeping it chill, but when you’ve been away for such a long time we rightfully expect some up-beat tunes. Their other sin is the under use of the contributors, such as Drawn Featuring Little Dragon which did not hit the mark in any sense (Seriously it takes way too long for De La Soul to join in on the fun on the track). As a filler album this would be decent, but as a return album it’s too little too late.

Run The Jewels-RTJ3 (2016)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: 86%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 88%

Average Rating: 91%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Down (feat. Joi)
  2. Talk To Me
  3. Legend Has It
  4. Call Ticketron
  5. Hey Kids (Bumaye) (feat. Danny Brown)
  6. Stay Gold
  7. Don’t Get Captured
  8. Thieves! (Screamed The Ghost) (feat. Tunde Adebimpe)
  9. 2100 (feat. BOOTS)
  10. Panther Like A Panther (Miracle Mix) (feat. Trina)
  11. Everybody Stay Calm
  12. Oh Mama
  13. Thursday In The Danger Room (feat. Kamasi Washington)
  14. A Report To The Shareholders : Kill Your Masters

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Wanting to be reassured that Hip-Hop is still in good hands.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Alone, it doesn’t do a lot for me. But as the rest of the albums together, I like the concept they’re going for.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yes, almost bought it the other day!

Final Thoughts:

In Aesop Rock’s Impossible Kid review I stated that he is my favourite rapper still making music, and although I’ll stick to my guns on that statement (cry me a river Lamra-ites) Run The Jewels is my favourite rap group currently making tunes. It’s a great blend of old school break beats that got me into hip-hop in the first place, mixed with more contemporary synth and industrial sounds. Killer Mike and EL-P make an awesome duo with amazing beats, politically charged lyrics, and over the top brags that sometimes don’t really make sense (ex. “I do pushups nude on the edge of cliffs” “I’m the living swipe right I’m Mike I’m a slut.” “I’m fuckin’ magic, in fact I’m a warlock of talk I got a unicorn horn for a STOP.”) They are making showstopping tracks that keep me stoked on Hip-Hop, I’m glad that these old school dudes are making it big, they deserve every bit of acclaim they are receiving. RTJ3 is a great mix of fun, serious, and impressive tracks to keep fans stoked while garnering new followers.

Grouplove-Big Mess (2016)

My Rating: 59% (D+)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: 60%

Metacritic Rating: 64%

Average Rating: 61%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Welcome To Your Life
  2. Do You Love Someone
  3. Standing in The Sun
  4. Enlighten Me
  5. Good Morning
  6. Spinning
  7. Cannonball
  8. Traumatized
  9. Heart of Mine
  10. Don’t Stop Making It Happen
  11. Hollywood

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for happy sounding pop.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s pretty cool, love the amount of colour

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not in the slightest.

Final Thoughts:

If there was ever a front heavy album it would be Grouplove’s Big Mess. It’s just so easy to take shots at this album, but I’ll refrain because I like these guys. The A-Side is pretty catchy, but it falls apart half way through, the voice gets grating, the lyrics get juvenile, the music becomes so repetitive it just makes me feel like I’m stuck in a mall. Grouplove has made some solid tunes, but they can’t really make a solid album, I feel like if they just spent more time putting together a concept album we could really have something to write home about, but for now we can snag the catchy pop tracks and leave the annoying mall music behind.

The Game-1992 (2016)

My Rating: 73% (B-)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 73%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Savage Lifestyle
  2. True Colors / It’s On
  3. Bompton
  4. Fuck Orange Juice
  5. The Juice
  6. Young Niggas
  7. The Soundtrack
  8. I Grew Up On Wu-Tang
  9. However Do You Want It
  10. Baby You
  11. What Your Life Like
  12. 92 Bars
  13. All Eyez (feat. Jeremih)

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

At the beach and want some old school hip-hop.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s pretty ugly, but reminds me of the artwork on Doggystyle.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Nah, not this one.

Final Thoughts:

The Game seems to be highly underrated, I’ve been listening to his stuff since High School and am continually shocked how little attention he seems to get. He can sound so different from album to album, some being really jazzy, others being old school, and others being straight gangster. 1992 is a great reminder that The Game is still around, it’s not really an overly impressive album, but it’s a good prelude to something better. It feels very much like KRS-One’s The Mixtape, which was released to hold fans over until his next full length album came out. It’s a great mix of tracks showing   stylistic diversity, while not being overly well thought out or produced. It’s fun (especially on a summer day) but it’s not gonna be an album that sticks with me.

Empire Of The Sun-Two Vines (2016)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 66%

Average Rating: 83%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Before
  2. High and Low
  3. Two Vines
  4. Friends
  5. There’s No Need
  6. Way To Go
  7. Ride
  8. Digital Life
  9. First Crush
  10. ZZZ
  11. To Her Door
  12. Keystone
  13. Lend Me Some Light
  14. Welcome To My Life

Favourite Song on Album:


Listen to This Album When You’re:

On the search for poppy fun music to turn your brain off to.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s trippy and weird and consistent with their other covers.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yes, absolutely!

Final Thoughts:

Empire of the Sun was one of the first dream pop bands that I got into, and I feel like I kind of owe them for helping me get into bands like Blonde Redhead and Beach House (Well, them and Richard Sandlin), this album is consistently entertaining brain candy. It’s nothing new, let’s get that straight, but it is really fun and really easy to turn your brain off to. It’s interesting to see the response to this band (mostly negative) after the release of their single Walking on a Dream, people are expecting them to reinvent the wheel, but these guys just wanna make funky music, and they’ve never failed at that.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑